The Boise Art Museum (BAM) originated in 1931 as the Boise Art Association, when a group of about thirty local art enthusiasts gathered in the Boise Hotel with one common goal: to foster a greater appreciation for art in the state of Idaho and its capital city. The Association’s first exhibition was held at the Hotel Boise. In 1937, the BAA, in partnership with the City of Boise and the federal Works Progress Administration, constructed the Boise Gallery of Art in Julia Davis Park in downtown Boise.
In the early 1960’s the museum incorporated as a non-profit organization, changing locations and expanding at various points over the next two decades. The late 1980’s saw the development of a permanent collection, as well as educational programs and the adoption of the official title Boise Art Museum. A major expansion in 1997 brought the Museum to its current size of almost 35,000 square feet, adding five galleries devoted to an expanded permanent collection, a sculpture court, an education wing, and art storage and preparation areas.
The permanent collection at BAM is devoted primarily to 20th century American art, particularly of the Pacific Northwest. Other points of focus are the American Realists and ceramic artwork, with a collection of European and non-Western artwork designed to give context and contrast to the American works. BAM continues to acquire (and feature in its rotation exhibitions) works by important regional artists, as well as pieces by artists of international stature.
Boise Art Museum Information
- Public Transportation: Good (Buses 1-Downtown and 3-Downtown from the Capital Blvd. and W Myrtle St. stop are a 3-minute walk)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good. Listening enhancement systems are also available
- Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Sunday Noon-5:00 p.m.; First Thursday of each month open until 9:00 p.m. Closed Mondays and major holidays
- Admission: $5; full time students and seniors (62+) $3, students (Grades 1-12) $1, children (6 and under), members, and BSU students are free. First Thursday of each month is donation day
- Tour: Free with cost of admission. Docent-led tours are available on the first Sunday of the month at 3:00 p.m.
- Membership: Individual membership is $45; Dual/Family membership is $60; Student/Senior membership is $35. All members receive free admission to museum, a 10% discount in The Museum Store, invitations to special events and exhibition previews, the quarterly newsletter, the monthly e-Newsletter, a special discount on adult and children’s art classes, a $5 gift certificate from The Museum Store, free or reduced admission to lectures and gallery talks, and 20% off room reservations at Hotel 43.